[Tumor] tissue is extremely fragile, and biological changes are increasingly pronounced with time elapsed since the surgery
For patients with hematological malignancies, the FIMM precision cancer medicine efforts and collaborating teams have made great progress on matching individualized therapies to patients via the analysis of patient-derived blood samples. However, for solid epithelial tumors, these methods cannot simply be adopted. According to Dr. Verschuren, there still is a great need for robust diagnostic cell models since the presently available models take long times to be established, and importantly, do not guarantee the expansion of malignant cells. “We have invested many years of research to understand whether tumor tissue can be used to obtain reliable data. Not surprisingly, we learned that tissue is extremely fragile, and biological changes are increasingly pronounced with time elapsed since the surgery”, says Dr. Emmy Verschuren.
In their recent proof-of-concept study in collaboration with Professor Krister Wennerberg from the University of Copenhagen, her group aimed to develop an alternative approach to circumvent these challenges. The team set out to assess whether uncultured tumor cell populations could be used for drug profiling, immediately following their isolation. The research findings demonstrate the utility of what the researchers called Fresh Uncultured Tumor Cells, or FUTCs. The team tested the method by profiling twenty non-small cell lung cancer patient samples. The drug screening panel used contained 66 lung cancer-selective drugs. Their results demonstrated that robust drug response data was generated in 19 of 20 patient cases. Genetic cancer mutation analyses and the drug sensitivity data were well aligned, providing further support for the validity of the approach.
Source: Healthcare in Europe